Monthly Archives: September, 2014

SJR19 – a reasonable bill to amend our constitution – Time for a Push

OverturningAfter three years of the NJOCU coalition actively pursuing an amendment-to-overturn, We Finally Have a FULL SENATE VOTE SCHEDULED for MONDAY, 9/8!  It is a vote on cloture, i.e. to close debate on S.J.Res.19.  It is not yet the vote to pass the amendment proposal.  But the cloture vote is significant (particular in this era of fillibusters in the Senate).  We see a vote for cloture as a show of support for the amendment outlined in S.J.Res.19.  Once debate ends, the actual bill may be voted on.

 

Despite broad voter approval of an amendment to overturn Citizens United, the two-party system has managed to divide on this bill.  Democrats are running on the issue in November, while Republicans with a pro-money faction led by Senator McConnell are fretting over the implications.  In this case, we have to side with Democrats.  SJR-19 is a narrowly written and very reasonable amendment proposal that enables Congress to regulate its own elections and thereby limit the corrupting influence of money in politics.  This is a reinforcement of Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.  While the amendment could have done more than that, its sponsors decided to proceed with care.  There is plenty of room for bipartisan support of SJR19.

 

SIGN THE PETITION in support of SJR19 to amend the constitution:  http://tinyurl.com/m9856ow

 

Acknowledging the partisan politics, we would hope to see ALL Senate Democrats vote YES for cloture on S.J.Res.19 on 9/8.  NJOCU gives a hat-tip to Sen. Menendez (202-224-4744) and Sen. Booker (202-224-3224) who have already cosponsored this bill.  We encourage you to thank them by phone or by email.  We also suggest that you call the remaining 5 Democratic Senators who have not yet gone on the record and ask for their support in some form.  Or call a friend in that state and ask them to get involved.  Some senate offices will accept input honestly presented as coming from a national constituency.  As a member/supporter of any national pro-amendment organization such as Public Citizen, Common Cause, Free Speech for People, People for the American Way, Rootstrikers or Wolf-PAC you have many voters in every state standing behind you.  Here are the non-sponsoring Democrats:

 

Pryor, Mark L. – (D – AR)

255 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-2353

Contact: www.pryor.senate.gov/contact

 

Donnelly, Joe – (D – IN)

720 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-4814

Contact: www.donnelly.senate.gov/contact/email-joe

 

Landrieu, Mary L. – (D – LA)

703 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5824

Contact: www.landrieu.senate.gov/?p=contact

 

Kaine, Tim – (D – VA)

388 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-4024

Contact: www.kaine.senate.gov/contact

 

Warner, Mark R. – (D – VA)

475 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-2023

Contact: www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Contact

 

For Democrats not ready to co-sponsor – fine.  Ask them to commit to voting for cloture and then for the bill.  Remind them: You can’t stand for the little guy, as Democrats claim to do, if you can’t even run without the big guy’s money.  And we all know how that works.  End the arms race of money.  Many voters also see the gridlocked Congress as a product of dark money-driven, fear-based negative advertising.  And even while the ads assassinate character and work the wedge issues, the parties are amazingly indistinguishable where moneyed interests are concerned.

 

—–

 

For Republicans, the arguments are remarkably similar.  Four quick points:

1) 80-90% of all voters want ALL the money out of politics

2) Small businesses want Citizens United overturned a disagree with money in politics almost 9-to-1

3) Congress’s do-nothing reputation is a direct result of the interference of BIG MONEY IN POLITICS

4) Most young voters, women and people of color believe the system is rigged against them, in large measure because they see how money corrupts the debate.  They want an amendment and reforms.

 

McCain, John – (R – AZ)

241 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-2235

Contact: www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

 

Murkowski, Lisa – (R – AK)

709 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-6665

Contact: www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Contact

 

Kirk, Mark – (R – IL)

524 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-2854

Contact: www.kirk.senate.gov/?p=contact

 

Paul, Rand – (R – KY)

124 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-4343

Contact: www.paul.senate.gov/?p=contact

 

Collins, Susan M. – (R – ME)

413 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-2523

Contact: www.collins.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email

 

Cochran, Thad – (R – MS)

113 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5054

Contact: www.cochran.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-me

 

Heller, Dean – (R – NV)

324 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-6244

Contact: www.heller.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

 

Coburn, Tom – (R – OK)

172 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5754

Contact: www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactsenatorcobu

 

Portman, Rob – (R – OH)

448 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-3353

Contact: www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact?p=contact

 

Alexander, Lamar – (R – TN)

455 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-4944

Contact: www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Email

 

Ayotte, Kelly – (R – NH)

144 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-3324

Contact: www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=contact

 

Republicans voters support reform.  Perhaps you’re one of them.  While some Republican members of Congress stand with their constituency on this issue, many seem better schooled in excuses for why addressing the problem should not be attempted.  A common narrative is that NOTHING will work.  Without ANY political leadership, they have a point (albeit a circular one).  Another argument is that we should wiggle and squiggle a partial fix into place.  Some of these ideas are remarkable good, but without an amendment to the constitution, new campaign reforms may be undermined with the next court case.  Stranger things have (already) happened.  WE MUST BOTH AMEND AND REFORM.

 

It’s okay to call on Monday.  We want a Thunderclap of activity to hit senate offices on the 8th. Join the Thunderclap:  http://bit.ly/1tOvyY0

 

Trans-partisan Opposition to Citizens United

http://freespeechforpeople.org/node/733

 

Everyone needs to understand that ALL other issues are being held hostage this issue, BY BIG MONEY.  Good governance is nearly impossible.  Voters have no confidence that their voices can be heard over the media volume of big money flooding elections at every level.  Each Senator needs to stand up and be counted on the right side of this issue and of history.  And all of our congress people need to stand with ordinary citizens, not with big money, to ensure a functioning democracy and free speech for ALL.

 

S.J.Res.19 and H.J.Res 119 (full text):
http://freespeechforpeople.org/node/526

 

If you live in New Jersey,

SIGN OURPETITION supporting SJR19 to amend the constitution:  http://tinyurl.com/m9856ow

 

WHEVER YOU LIVE

Several national groups have started new SJR-19-specific petitions.  We suggest you sign any and all.  Here’s one at CREDO Action:

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/sjres_19

 

The Daily Kos gives some background on its petition and that of other groups as well, showing that several groups are working together.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/04/1327179/-Senate-to-vote-on-repealing-Citizens-United-Monday-Something-you-can-do-that-will-take-5-minutes

Here’s the Daily Kos petition.

https://www.dailykos.com/campaigns/788

 

 

Susannah Newman contributed significantly to this article.